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The Secrets of the Past

April 21, 2010

The first issue of the latest arc of Grant Morrison’s Batman epic, Batman and Robin #10, stars off in a rather amusing, if, as Lucius Fox says, unorthodox way.  Wayne Enterprises is having a board meeting, and Damian Wayne is attending.  He brings up info from his research on the company’s financial irregularities, which makes a few of the board members rather uncomfortable.  Elsewhere, Batman chats with Oberon Sexton, who is convinced that the mysterious Domino Killer will attack Bruce Wayne next, and that Wayne is a member of the Black Glove.  Alfred Pennyworth calls the two of them to tell them about some clues he discovered when rehanging the portraits of the Wayne patriarchs back in the mansion.  Seems a connection to bats runs in the family.  Dick and Damian continue to search the mansion for clues.  Elsewhere, El Penitente sends in a hit squad to kill Oberon Sexton for not allying with him, though Sexton escapes.  Damian worries about being able to remain Robin when his father returns.  He recalls just after when his spine was fixed, when his mother, Talia al Ghul, tried to convince him to leave Dick and come back to her.  As Dick finds a secret passage, Damian grabs a sword and tries to kill him.  However, Dick falls through the passage, and Damian, horrified at what he has just done, runs off.  Dick finds a secret Batcave at the bottom of the passage, Alfred found out some stuff about the Wayne cemetary, and Damian runs into said cemetary before being found by the fleeing Sexton.

Every single arc in Batman and Robin has slowly been pushing the ongoing plots of Bruce Wayne being lost in time and Dick and Damian’s relationship forward, and this one finally seems to be bearing the fruits of that.  Aside from his choice to use the Red Hood, Grant Morrison has really constructed this book very well.  The question of who Oberon Sexton is really coming to the forefront as well.  Personally, I think the whole idea of the Return of Bruce Wayne is silly, both because of the whole time-traveling bit and because it will be knocking a member of the next generation of superheroes out of the spotlight.  But this side of it, looking for clues hidden in the manor, that’s really cool.  And Morrison has done great work with Batman thus far, aside from one or two minor mess-ups, so I’m only a bit worried as to how it will play out.  Really, this whole issue is just so tightly constructed, a lot more like the first arc, and it just fits so well as a whole.  Andy Clarke’s work also echoes Frank Quitely’s very much, only with less repulsive faces.  I am curious as to why Talia suddenly started looking darker-skinned, but that’s probably just an interpretation thing.  This issue wasn’t terribly action-packed, so we have yet to see how Clarke will do with fight scenes.  Still, it looks promising.  Again, although I have my reservations about the method of the story this ties in to, I think that this arc in of itself will be entertaining, and I’m sure that Morrison will do a good job with the Return of Bruce Wayne as well.  Even if it does straddle the line between awesome and ridiculous.  Morrison has proven that he loves to straddle that line in his work on Batman rather regularly anyway.

Plot: 9.0      Art: 8.9      Dialogue: 8.8      Overall: 8.9

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